Democrats tap Pirani to face Hawk in county council race

Democrat Ashley Pirani will face Republican incumbent Monroe County Council member Marty Hawk in November.

In a caucus meeting on Monday, the Monroe County Democratic Party tapped Pirani to represent the party in the county council District 3 race this November.

Monroe County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Fraley said trying to unseat a veteran public servant such as Hawk will be challenging, but he believes the party has the momentum to flip the seat. Hawk, the sole Republican on the seven-member county council, has served as District 3's representative since 1998. She has also served on the county council before as an at-large member.

But Pirani believes it is time for someone new to represent District 3 on the county council. Pirani said that for the past year and a half, she has dedicated her time to social justice activism and learning how to run a successful campaign. She hopes to bring her experience as a community leader and her ability to work collaboratively with others to resolve issues to the county council. She also plans to demonstrate transparency by hosting monthly constituent meetings.

“I did not make this decision lightly,” Pirani said. “I believe I have the necessary training and support to run a serious campaign.”

Pirani serves on a number of committees and organizations throughout Monroe County. These include the county chapter of the National Organization for Women, a multi-issue progressive political organization that formed locally in 2017. Pirani is one of the founding members of the organization, and currently serves as its president.

In addition, Pirani is a member of the Monroe County Democratic Black Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus. She also has experience working on campaigns. Most recently, she worked with Erika Oliphant (candidate for prosecutor) and Christine Talley Haseman (candidate for circuit court judge) on their campaigns. Both candidates won their contested primary races in May.

Ballot vacancies

While a caucus was held on Monday for the county council District 3 race, there are a number of township and Ellettsville Town Council races still missing a Democratic candidate for the general election.

Carolyn VandeWiele, the Democratic representative on the Monroe County Election Board, said major political parties have until noon on June 30 to fill ballot vacancies, but they do not necessarily have to hold a caucus to do so. Fraley said ballot vacancies can also be filled through appointment, but that given the high profile of a county council seat, party leadership felt a caucus was more appropriate.

Fraley said the party is still working to fill the remaining slots.

Republican caucus coming up

On the other side of the aisle, the Monroe County Republican Party plans to hold a caucus on Wednesday to fill some of that party’s ballot vacancies.